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OCTOBE' 



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JL'IFE 



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Bob Duncan 



ne of the reasons I 

hunt, and have en- 
joyed doing so since I was 
a kid, has little to do with 
the chase or the certainty 
of a harvest. It has every- 
thing to do with simply being out- 
doors. Whether I go afield alone, as 
often happens, or share the hunting 
experience in a blind with a friend, 
the quiet of the waiting, the awaken- 
ing of the woods, and the excitement 
of identifying wildlife sustain me. 

The past 12 months have been 
tough for all of us, and for too many, 
devastating. Unsettling times often 
call upon us to reevaluate our priori- 
ties. It may be appropriate to re- 
assess what it is that we truly value. 
Spending time outdoors with fami- 
ly, with friends, or with a good hunt- 
ing dog — ^that's what I value and I 
suspect that you do too. 

Looking back over the past year, 
it strikes me that heading out to my 
favorite stand of trees or catching up 
at the local hunt club are just what 
my mind and body need right about 
now. And the hope of donating all 
or part of a harvest to Hunters for 
the Hungry or, better yet, helping 




someone take the first 
steps in putting food on 
their own table by being a 
mentor through our Ap- 
prentice Hunting License 
program also appeals to 
my spirit. It may be that you share 
this need too — the need to get back 
to basics. 

While it might not have pushed 
the tough headlines off the front 
page, the past year did bring some 
good news: record deer and bear 
harvests in Virginia, a good spring 
gobbler harvest, and a super hatch 
and turkey recruitment — which 
bodes well for the fall and the com- 
ing spring, especially. Bear have 
been spotted statewide and bear 
numbers are up, prompting a more 
liberal hunting season during 2009 
and 2010. Waterfowl hunting looks 
good this fall, too. You'll want to 
check the current digest, as some bag 
limits have been raised accordingly. 
So tune up your muzzleloader, 
bow, and long rifle and get ready to 
breathe in some fresh autumn air 
and take time for what really mat- 
ters. Maybe I'll see you out there. Be 
safe. 



Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optiniiiiii populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; 
To provide opportimity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work dihgently to safeguard the 
rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game ;us provided for in the Constitution of Virginia: To promote safety for persons and prop- 
erty in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide education:d outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of 
and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 

VOI.UMR 70 NUMBER 10 



Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kaine, Governor 



HUNTING & FISHING 

LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr. 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 



Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
William T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Thomas A. Stroup, Fairfax 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 



Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Tom Guess, Staff Contributor 



Color separations and printing by 

Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 



Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published 
monthly by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 7477, 
Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other com- 
munications concerning this publication to Virginia 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, 
Richmond, 'Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates 
are $12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 
per each back issue, subject to availability. Out-of- 
country rate is $24.95 for one year and must be paid 
m U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts less than 
$5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710-9369. 
Postmaster: Please send all address changes to 
Virginia Wildlife, PC. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 
51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid at 
Richmond, 'Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2009 by the 'Virginia Department of 
Game and Inland Fisheries. All rights reser\'ed. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall ' 
afford to all persons an equal access to Department 
programs and facilities without regard to race, 
color, religion, national origin, disability, sex, or 
age. If you believe that you have been discriminat- 
ed against in any program, activity or facility, 
please write to: Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries, ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 
West Broad Street.) RO. Box 11104, Richmond, 
Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informa- 
tional purposes only and every effort has been 
made to ensure its accuracy. The information con- 
tained herein does not serve as a legal representa- 
tion of fish and wildlife laws or regulations. The 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 
does not assume responsibility for any change in 
dates, regulations, or information that may occur 
after publication." 



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Mixed Sources 



OCTOBER CONTENTS 




About the cover: 

Atlantic brant 
winter along Vir- 
ginia's coastal 
regions and lower 
bay. Waterfowl 
hunters and bird- 
ers pursue this 
duck throughout 
the barrier islands 
of the Eastern 
Shore. A good 
opportunity to 
view brant is dur- 
ing cold weather 

months horn the the sandy reaches of 

Assateague National Wildlife Refuge. 

See related story on page 4. 

©Ken Conger 



T 7 TRGINIA 

\ V/ILDLIFE 

Magazine 
Subscriptions 

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circulation problems 

and address changes 

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12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23-95 







M Clamming with Brant 
a^ by Curtis Badger 
The promise of fresh chowder entices this writer 
to brave the elements. 

8 Striving for a Healthier Herd 
byTeeClarkson 
Armed with knowledge and patience, land- 
owners can manage for bigger bucks. 

40 Red Oak Quail Take Flight 

■ ^ by Gail Brown 
A family taps into a much appreciated game 
bird enterprise. 

MLake Cohoon's Bowfm Bonanza 
byMarcN.McGlade 
A visit to this Sufif^olk lake might have you 
battling some feisty adversaries. 

^O Hunting for Permission 

' ^^ by B ruce 1 ngram 
Tips from an avid hunter about accessing private 
land are offered. 



22 



VDHA Youth Hunt 

by Ken Perrotte 



Youngsters learn about safety, shooting skill, 
timing, and QDM. 



Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! 
by Spike Knuth 



24 

Virginias Blackbirds 

AFIELD AND AFLOAT 

29 Off the Leash 
uU Journal 
uZ Dining In 

33 On the Water 

34 Photo Tips 




And other gifts of the tidal flats 



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story and photos by Curtis Badger 



stand alone on the tidal flat with 
my head bowed, bent slightly at 
the waist. When I move, I do so 
with a shuffling gait... tentatively, a 
little uncertain of my direction. If 
someone were to see me from a dis- 
tance, they would think that I am a 
very old man, perhaps infirm, per- 
haps confused. 

But I am not infirm and I am not 
confused. What I am is hungry. I am 
hungry for clam chowder, and I want 
it made with salty seaside clams so 
fresh they were part of the coastal 
ecosystem the same day they are 
eaten. So I bend at the waist and scour 
the flat for clam sign, telltale holes 
that indicate a clam may be buried 
beneath the surface. I carry a clam 
pick, which is sort of a walking stick 
with two metal tines on one end, and 
when I spot a suspicious hole I rake 
the tines around it, hoping to make 
contact. 

It is late winter, the perfect time to 
be out on Virginia's seaside. The duck 
hunters are gone and the flounder 
fishermen are still weeks away, and 
so I have the place to myself. It is low 
tide and acres of flats will be exposed 
for perhaps two hours, plenty of time 
to fill my basket with clams. It's feed- 
ing time out here. A pair of greater 
yellowlegs forages along the waters' 
edge ahead of me. A large flock of 



Virginia has Long enjoyed a fine 
reputation for its hardshell clam, 
Mercenaria mercenaria. Tender little 
necks are enjoyed steamed, dipped 
in butter. 



dunlin remains farther out on the flat, 
now and then taking off and flying a 
short distance, keeping in formation 
like a school of small fish. 

In the shallows just off the flat is a 
raft of brant, Branta bernicla, a 
bird that captures the wildness and 
remoteness of this salt marsh in 
winter. The brant is a dark, stocky sea 
goose with a black head, neck, and 
breast, with whitish hashmarks on 
the sides of the neck. Its flanks are 
gray-brown and its rump is white. It 
simply looks right here in the winter 
marsh. The flanks are the color of de- 
caying Spartina grass, the breast and 
neck are dark like the exposed flat, 
and the rump could be a chunk of salt 
ice pushed up during a hard freeze. 



Clamming in winter 
is a good excuse to 
get out and listen to 
a little brant music. 




OCTOBER 2009 






I. 



1 

«4 




Brant seem fitting and proper here 
in winter, especially if the sky is gray 
and there's a breeze carrying a prom- 
ise of snow. Then the brant will hang 
along the horizon in dark, irregular 
strings, flying low over the bays that 
separate the barrier islands from the 
mainland. If they come upon a group 
of fellow brant feeding in the shal- 
lows, they will circle and come up- 
wind, cup their wings, reduce speed, 
and fall gracefully one by one, bark- 
ing like hungry puppies in a brant 
greeting. 

The brant's high-pitched call also 
seems appropriate in this winter 
marsh. It is a feminine version of the 



call of the Canada goose, softer, gen- 
tler, more melodic, and — to my ear — 
much wilder. Unlike Canada geese, 
brant don't associate with people. 
You won't find them on the golf 
course or the neighborhood pond. If 
you want to see and hear brant, you'U 
have to get out here — in this remote 
landscape — in weather that encour- 
ages sane people to stay at home by 
the fire. And that adds to their wild- 
ness quotient, I think; they belong 
here in this singular place, a remote 
and not easily accessible landscape. 

Clamming in winter is a good ex- 
cuse to get out and listen to a little 
brant music. On a raw day in Febru- 



ary, it's difficult to explain to your 
family that you want to take the boat 
out and listen to the brant. Instead, I 
put it in terms of clams: "Some hot 
clam chowder sure would be good 
on a day like today." 

And so I pull on the thermals, the 
wool sweater, the waterproof jacket, 
and head out. The tidal flat is only a 
fifteen-minute run from the boat 
ramp, and that's the only chilly part 
of the trip. Once the boat is beached, 
once I'm on the flat, pecking at the 
surface with my clam pick, it no 
longer seems cold. 

The hardshell clam we have here 
on the Virginia coast lives just below 



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VIRGINIA WILDLIFE* www HuntFishV 



the surface of the tidal flat, sending 
out two connected siphons to suck in 
nutrients and to expel waste. At low 
tide when the flat is exposed, the 
holes where the siphons appear can 
sometimes be seen. The term explain- 
ing this is "clam sign," which can be 
both a noun and a verb; for example, 
"The clams are signing good today." 
Rake your clam pick across these 
holes and you just might have the be- 
ginning of a pot of chowder. 

Clams have been part of our food 
culture for hundreds of years, and 
they were once part of our currency. 
Native Americans used to eat the 
clam and then shape the shell into 
beads and trade them to other tribes 
for goods such as stone tools. Re- 
member old gangster movies when a 
tough guy would thumb through a 
fistful of money and mutter, "Dat's a 
lotta clams?" He was talking about 
money, of course, and it all began 
here on the coast when an enterpris- 
ing native discovered that people 
fancied handsome blue beads 
shaped from the clam shell. So clam 
shells became wampum, and when 
early scientists assigned genus and 
species names to clams, the hard 
clam of our coast, the source of 
wampum, was named Mercenaria 
mercenaria, from the Latin 
mercenarius, meaning money, or 
wages. 

The value of the clam today, of 
course, is derived from its salty 
sweet flavor. We eat the tender, 
small ones — little necks — steamed 
open and dipped in melted butter. 
The larger ones are chopped up and 
made into fritters, or seasoned 
with garlic and served over f 
pasta, or we use them as the 
mother ingredient in 
chowders. 



The most variable clam dish by far 
is clam chowder. There are infinite 
versions along Virginia's coast, some 
from recipes centuries old, many that 
are considered family heirlooms. 
There is a popular notion, probably 
perpetuated by the companies that 
sell canned clam chowder, that there 
are two kinds of chowder: New Eng- 
land, which is creamy, £md Manhat- 
tan, which is tomato based. 

Those of us who live on the coast 
can sometimes be clam snobs, and we 
would be disinclined to eat a clam 
that came from anywhere near Man- 
hattan. We're used to having clam 
dishes made with freshly caught 
Mercenaria. If we travel inland a bit 
and find clam chowder on the menu, 
we realize that it's made with sea 
clams, Spisuln solidissima, or the ocean 
clam, Arctica islandic. These are large 
clams that live in offshore waters. 
They are dredged by ocean-going 



vessels, shipped to mainland pro- 
cessing plants, and then frozen and 
sent to food processors. This is a little 
like comparing fresWy caught native 
trout with fish sticks at the drive- 
through. 

I do not mean to disparage off- 
shore clams, and I realize that Merce- 
naria are difficult to come by in, let's 
say. Big Stone Gap, cind I would not 
want to deny the folks of Big Stone 
Gap their processed strips and chow- 
der at the Friday evening seafood 
buffet. I wish, however, tliat I could 
favor each of them with a dozen little 
necks with butter, followed by a bowl 
of chowder made with clams taken 
from a tidal flat about an hour before 
dinner. G 

Curtis Badger, ivliose most recent book /s A Nat- 
ural History of Quiet Waters (UVA Press), 
has written widely about natural history and 
wihilife art. He lives on Virginia's Eastern 
Shore. 



OCTOBER 2009 




Knowledge about 

farming, forestry, and 

deer biology is key. 



\ 



byTeeClarkson 



he ethics surrounding man's 
relationship with his envi- 
ronment over the last several hun- 
dred years have been brought into 
question on countless stages and in 
countless arenas. With so many voic- 
es now arguing the appropriate way 
we must interact with the natural 
world, it seems doubtful that a com- 
mon agreement will ever be reached. 
But the central questions remain the 
same: Can we humans live in harmo- 
ny with our surroundings? And if we 
can, how do we go about doing so? 

While the idea can be daunting to 
contemplate on a global scale, at a 
local level good practices are easier to 
understand and to implement. As far 
as protecting wildlife, hunters make 
up one of the largest groups generally 
focused on the success of many 
species. They tend to look first at im- 
proving the health of their quarry in a 
localized area, which invariably has 
benefits that reach far outside a single 
species and a given location. For 
many years the Quality Deer Man- 
agement Association (QDMA) has 
aimed to create a better relationship 
between deer, land, and humans in 
order to ensure the healthiest deer 
herd possible, but their practices ben- 
efit far more than deer alone. 




Today, deer management objectives have changed to control and stabilize 
populations over much of Virginia. 



The idea for quality deer manage- 
ment began in Texas in the 1960s. 
When wildlife biologists Al Brothers 
and Murphy Ray, Jr. published their 
book Producing Quality WItitetnils, in 
1975, the idea of managing deer 
herds gained momentum and began 
spreading to the rest of the whitetail's 
habitat throughout the country. By 
the turn of the millennium, hunters, 
biologists, and foresters were manag- 



• ^ 




ing millions of acres based on Quality 
Deer Management (QDM) practices. 
The basic tenet behind Quality 
Deer Management is "... aimed at 
creating the maximum nutritional 
value on a given piece of property," 
says Brandon Stevens, past president 
and active member of the Tri-City 
branch of the QDMA in Bristol, Vir- 
ginia. Managing a deer herd properly 
and according to the QDM standards 
requires knowledge of forestry and 
farming practices as well as an un- 
derstanding of the deer themselves. 
Essentially, a property can support a 
certain number of healthy deer. 
Often, though, the property holds 
more deer than it can technically sup- 
port, leaving the herd less than 
healthy. This means smaller animals 
and animals that are in less than ideal 
shape. 



Fall is the mating season for white- 
tails, commonly called the "rut" by 
deer hunters, and the time of year 
when deer are most active. 





Quality deer management often advocates for the harvesting of does over bucks, to achieve a healthy buck-to-doe ratio. 



"The QDMA is based in educa- 
tion," says Stevens, "focusing on 
proper methods to achieve a healthi- 
er deer herd." The education starts 
with identifying herd size and the 
buck-to-doe ratio on a given piece of 
property. Herd size can be difficult to 
determine. The best tool for identify- 
ing the population and general 
health of the deer herd one wishes to 
manage is the Department's Deer 
Management Assistance Program, or 
DMAP. 

"This is an excellent tool if you're 
going the QDM route," says district 
biologist Bill Bassinger. The program 
requires a meeting between land- 
owners or managers and biologists, 
wherein they identify how to begin 
the process of improving the specific 
deer herd. During the first year, pro- 
gram participants provide data from 



harvested animals in the form of jaw- 
bones, weights, and antler measure- 
ments. These allow the scientists to 
determine the general health of the 
deer population on the property. 
From this information, biologists 
provide suggestions on management 
for the following year. Program par- 
ticipants continue to provide data 
from harvested animals in subse- 
quent years, so the participant and 
scientist can identify how the man- 
agement is progressing. 

"The beauty of the program," says 
Bassinger, "is that you can track 
change in the herd over the years." 

As for buck-to-doe ratio, "While a 
one-to-one ratio might be ideal," ac- 
cording to Stevens, "it is simply not 
realistic in most cases. A two-to-one 
or even three-to-one ratio is more 
achievable." For hunters on a piece of 



property going into the QDM pro- 
gram, this often means harvesting a 
lot of does for a few years and letting 
young bucks, those under two and a 
half years, walk. The implementation 
of this type of harvest management is 
crucial to achieving the ideal herd 
size and should come before land 
management practices even begin, in 
a lot of cases. The tough part in many 
areas of the state is having enough 
doe days or tags to harvest the re- 
quired or necessary number of does. 
Again, this is where the DMAP pro- 
vides huge assistance. If biologists 
determine a participant needs to thin 
out the doe population, they allot ad- 
ditional antlerless tags for the coming 
year. 

"You need less deer to have 
healthier deer," says Bassinger, 
adding, "The beautiful tool of DMAP 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



is that it lets landowners take many 
more does." 

The allotment of additional antler- 
less tags through DMAP generally 
includes taking does on any day 
throughout the season, and often al- 
lows hunters to take as many does as 
is deemed necessary to improve the 
health of the herd. 

It is important to note that 
QDMA's practices are not as much 
trophy management practices as they 
are healthy management practices. 
Bigger bucks, however, are a byprod- 
uct of the system. If a property has 
healthier bucks, those bucks are 
going to have bigger racks. If a prop- 
erty has a better buck-to-doe ratio 
through letting young bucks walk, 
eventually hunters will see more and 
bigger bucks. Adding a trophy ele- 
ment to the program is as easy as un- 
derstanding buck age structure and 
simply not shooting bucks under a 
certain age. 

"As a general rule," Stevens says, 
"it is best not to shoot bucks under 
two and a half years old." 

Because of this, identifying buck 
age in the field is a major part of 
QDMA's educational focus. The age 
can be raised to three and a half, how- 
ever, in order to focus more on grow- 
ing trophy bucks. "It's a personal 
choice/' Stevens notes. 



For hunters on a piece of property 
going into the QDM program, this 
often means harvesting a lot of 
does for a few years and letting 
young bucks, those under two and 
a half years, walk. 



After harvest management, land 
management is the primary tool in 
creating and maintaining an ideal 
deer herd. The location and terrain of 
the property will dictate land and for- 
est management practices. Those liv- 
ing in the western, more mountain- 
ous portion of the state may do well 
to focus on forest management — 
thinning trees to allow for more un- 
dergrowth, which benefits not only 
deer, but many species of animals 
and birds. Those to the east may like- 
ly want to incorporate food plots as a 

OCTOBER 2009 




Wildlife biologist Al Bourgeois discusses deer riianagement objectives with land- 
owners and how the science of aging deer is based on tooth development and wear. 



means of maximizing nutritional 
value. Consulting the Department of 
Forestry and DGIF biologists to de- 
termine the best practices is undoubt- 
edly a good place to start. 

When it comes to property size for 
management, Stevens says no prop- 
erty is really too small to manage, ap- 
plying the QDM strategies. Sure, 
while it might be helpful to have a 
sizeable chunk of land in the hun- 
dreds of acres, Stevens says he has 




seen the practices work on parcels as 
small as 17 acres. "The ideal situa- 
tion," he points out, "is to have adja- 
cent landowners working together 
and implementing the same manage- 
ment strategies. This is a benefit to 
everyone." 

Stevens is cjuick to acknowledge, 
though, that "... managing a deer 
herd for ideal conditions is not some- 
thing that happens overnight." Like 
anything in life, the more you put into 
it, the more you get out," he professes. 
Often it takes three to five years to re- 
ally start seeing the benefits of Quality 
Deer Management practices. 

For those interested in exploring 
these strategies, the QDMA has 12 
branches located around the state. 
Members share tactics, techniques, 
successes, and failures among the 
group. If you are looking to improve 
the health of your deer herd, this is a 
great place to start. □ 

Tee Clarkson is an English teacher at Deep Run 
High School in Henrico Co. and runs Virginia 
Fishi)ig Adventures, a fishing camp for kids: 
tsclarkson@virginiafishingadventures.coni. 

More extensive information regard- 
ing the Quality Deer Management As- 
sociation and state branches can be 
found on the QDMA Web site: 
www.qdma.com. 




Red Oak Quail 




9.Re 




essay and photos by Gail Brown 



Raising quail is hard work. 
Just ask Larry New comb of 
Red Oak, Virginia. Not too 
long ago he tore down his flight pens 
and scaled back his operation to the 
more owner-friendly side of the busi- 
ness — selling packing foam, sup- 
plies, and equipment to other would- 
be quail farmers. In the past. New- 
comb sold nine different varieties of 
quail and shipped over 2,000 eggs a 
day to 48 states. When asked what 
went wrong with his family business 
that has spanned 25 years, Newcomb 
replies: "Success. We were too suc- 
cessful. I couldn't keep up." 

More sales meant more incuba- 
tors, more chicks, more eggs, more 
work. Regardless of the fact that the 
entire family pitched in, it was clean, 
feed, water, pack, transport — morn- 
ing 'til night — then start all over 
again; the Sorcerer's Apprentice with 
an avian twist. The rising cost of feed 
(which doubled over the last five 
years), increasing costs for electricity 
(over $600 a month before firing up 
two large commercial incubators), 
and daunting problems with trans- 
portation were also factors in New- 
comb's decision to scale things down. 
But in the final analysis, it was the un- 
ending toil that tipped the scales 
away from farming live quail to the 
lucrative (and easier) job of providing 
other farmers with supplies needed 
to run the same business. 

Yet today, Newcomb is poised to 
restart the part of the business he 
loves the most — raising northern 
bobwhite quail, shipping eggs, and 
talking with customers who become 
friends when all is said and done. 
That this story crosses three genera- 
tions and involves wild things and 
country values only serves to make 
the telling bittersweet. Here's what 
happened. 

In 1985 Nathan Newcomb moved 
his family from Sewell, New Jersey, 
to the quiet fields of Red Oak, Vir- 
ginia, close to his parent's home- 
stead. To young Larry, Red Oak 
might as well have been on the moon. 
Alien also were the chickens his fa- 



12 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Packing eggs takes time and care; eggs 
(from left to right): pharaoh coturnix, 
northern bobwhite, and button quail. 




ther asked him to raise. Knowing 
how animals can tie you to the land, 
Nathan purchased an incubator for 
his son. That Larry had only seen a 
chicken once, maybe twice, in his en- 
tire ten years didn't seem to matter. 
His experiences didn't include qviail, 
either, but before long he was hatch- 
ing and selling bobwhite quail to 
neighbors and passersby in ever-in- 
creasing numbers. 

Like any proud father, Nathan 
couldn't resist a little bragging. 
Mornings found fellow farmers at 
S.T. Adams Country Store leaning in 
to hear about each challenge faced 
and each problem solved, day by day, 
egg by egg! When a local breeder sold 
the young entrepreneur 1,000 quail 
eggs the business simply took flight. 
By the time he reached high school, 
Newcomb had a thriving business, 
one that remains an important part of 
his life today as he looks to rebuild 
the wild side of quail farming. 



Above: A neighbor created the sign for Lany Newcomb's family business; 
Larry's mom (absent) also helps out. Below: The male noithern bobwhite quail 
has a white ring on his neck. The female has a brown ring. 



In the future, Newcomb hopes his 
partnership with a neighbor who will 
raise pheasants will help him keep 
growth and costs manageable. When 
asked what advice he woulci give 
those new to the business, Newcomb 
is clear: "Get your licenses in order 
and follow the rules. Start small and 
specialize with one kind of bird. And 
grow slowly." 



Asked about his lifelong attrac- 
tion to bobwhite quail, Newcomb 
replies: "Just to hear them call across 
my fields — or to see them cross in 
front of me on the driveway — well, I 
can't say it any plainer than tliat." D 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school 
ndiitiiiistrator. 











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OCTOBER 2009 



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Lake Coh 




Suffolk's Lake Cohoon is 

a fantastic fishery worthy 

of a visit from families and 

serious fishing fans. 

story and photos 
byMarcN. McGlade 

Some of the best lakes in Vir- 
ginia are located near down- 
town Suffolk. Dubbed the 
Suffolk Lakes, these interconnected 
lakes are slightly west of Virginia's 
Great Dismal Swamp National 
Wildlife Refuge. The lakes include 
Western Branch Reservoir, Lake 
Prince, Burnt Mills Reservoir, 
Speights Run, Lake Cohoon (some- 
times spelled Cahoon), Lake Meade, 
Lake Kilby, and tlie Lone Star Lakes 



14 



(a series of 12 lakes — some intercon- 
nected — varying in size from three to 
50 acres, totaling 490 acres). 

Suffolk is sandwiched between 
Virginia's incredible saltwater fish- 
ing to the east and Lake Gaston and 
Buggs Island to the west. Surprising- 
ly, the Suffolk lakes can be over- 
looked, despite their top-heavy rank- 
ings when it comes to the Old Do- 
minion's trophy fish certificates. 

Lake Cohoon, Lake Meade, Lake 
Kilby, and Speights Run are water 
supply reservoirs owned by the city 
of Portsmouth but located in Suffolk. 
Lake Cohoon can lay claim to the cur- 
rent state-record bowfin. This giant 
dinosaur weighed 16 pounds, 8 
ounces, and was caught by John 
Plyler, Jr. on October 17, 2004. 

While the lakes provide drinking 
water to thousands of Virginians, 



they offer anglers a tremendous vari- 
ety of fisheries from which to choose. 
Lake Cohoon is certainly one of them. 

Lake Cohoon Specifics 

Lake Cohoon measures 510 acres and 
is a dynamo for bluegill, largemouth 
bass, chain pickerel, crappie, and 
shellcracker. Fisheries biologists even 
stocked walleye from 1995 through 
1998; however, moderate survival of 
these fingerlings did not justify addi- 
tional stockings. The Department has 
duly noted Cohoon's production of 
monster-sized chain pickerel. Biolo- 
gists say anglers catch several 6- 
pound "jacks" during wintertime. 
For that species, it is the top producer 
in the district. It is also one of the dis- 
trict's top-producing lakes for big 
crappie. 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



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Chad Boyce is a fisheries biologist 
from the Department's district office 
in Chesapeake who manages the fish 
factory. He says Lake Cohoon's water 
is a bit more stained when compared 
to similar lakes in the area, with a 
slightly lower pH. 

"These are the makings for a great 
bowfin lake, as that fish prefers 
stained, acidic waters such as the 
swamps and creeks in the Nottoway 
and Blackwater rivers," he explains. 



Page 14: Fisheries biologists Chad 
Boyce, left, and Eric Brittle, show 
evidence of Lake Cohoon's bruiser 
bowfin. 

Above: Suffoll<'s Lake Cohoon is a 
scenic lake with bountiful and big fish. 
Left: Chad Boyce takes measurements 
of a fat Lake Cohoon bowfin. 




Vj^ 



Lake Cohoon 
Logistics 

• For fisheries information and regu- 
lations regarding Lake Cohoon, con- 
tact the DGIF district office in Chesa- 
peake at (757) 465-6812. For even 
more information, visit online at 
ww"w.HuntFish VA.com. 

• Gas motors as powerful as 9.9 horse- 
power are allowed. 

• The Lake Meade & Cohoon Bait & 
Tackle Shop, located at 1805 
Pitchkettle Road (off Route 58), pro- 
vides a paved boat ramp for Lake 
Meade and Lake Cohoon, boat 
rentals, trolling motors, bait, tackle, 
beverages, and snacks. The conces- 
sion is open only on weekends dur- 
ing winter months, but seven days a 
week otherwise, weather permit- 
ting. For more information, contact 
the concession by phone at (757) 
539-6216. 

• Bank fishing is limited to the shore- 
line at the fishing station, excluding 
the dam. 

• A permit (daily or annual) from the 
city of Portsmouth is required for 
fishing or boating on its lakes (Co- 
hoon, Meade, Kilby, and Speights 
Run). These permits can be pur- 
chased at the Lake Meade & Cohoon 
Bait & Tackle Shop or through the 
city's Lake Kilby Water Treatment 
Plant, phone (757) 539-2201, ext. 0. 



16 



Lake Cohoon is one of the state's best 
chain pickerel fisheries. 

"Flowever, Cohoon is not as acidic as 
those backwater areas, but it still has 
great habitat for bowfin." 

Boyce indicates Cohoon boasts 
great fishing for largemouth bass, 
pickerel, crappie, and sunfish, but 
also touts the large bowfin that roam 
the lake. 

"Bowfin also like the cover pro- 
vided by cypress trees, especially 
their 'knees' and root structure, 
which Cohoon has plenty of as well," 
he says. "Excellent forage and suit- 
able habitat certainly contribute, 
too." 

According to Boyce, however, 
bowfin are not the main draw for Co- 
hoon. The Suffolk area is widely 
known for its amazing largemouth 
bass, sunfish, and crappie angling. At 
Lake Cohoon, these species garner 
the most attention. Chain pickerel 
fishing is outstanding from late win- 
ter to early spring at this Coastal 
Plain beauty. In fact. Lake Cohoon is 
one of the best chain pickerel fisheries 
in the entire state. 

Bruiser Bowfin 

Bowfin (Amia calva) have many nick- 
names. They include mudfish, grin- 
nel, grinner, dogfish, grindle, and 
blackfish. Few anglers purposely tar- 
get these incredible game fish; rather, 
in the South bowfin likely get hooked 
as a result of people fishing for large- 



mouth bass. They are as strong as a pit 
bull and won't give up, even when in 
the landing net! Bowfin are known to 
destroy fishing tackle — primarily 
spinnerbaits — with their slashing 
teeth. 

These prehistoric creatures lurk in 
muddy or weedy habitats. Still-water 
areas are likely to hold the round- 
tailed specimens, not to be confused 
witli the northern snakehead fish — al- 
though they do exhibit some physical 
similarities. Northern snakeheads at 
present are confined to the Potomac 
River drainage area. 

Boyce believes another state- 
record bowfin could be lurking in the 
scenic lake. He says the largest bowfin 
the Department has sampled to date 
weighed in the 12-pound range. He 
contends that Cohoon is a great place 
to fish for a big bowfin, especially in 
the upper reaches of the lake in the 
shallows. 

"Some big crappie come out of Co- 
hoon each year, too, but a state record 
would probably be unlikely," he adds. 




Top: Where there are baby chain picker- 
el, there are giants. 
Above: Giant shellcrackers are common 
at Lake Cohoon. 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVAcom 




John Plyler, Jr.'s bowfin of 16 pounds, 
8 ounces has held the state record 
since Oct. 17, 2004. 

A Don't-Miss Lake 

Boyce acknowledges that diehard 
bowfin anglers are a rare breed, and 
the truth is the majority of fisher- 
men don't want to deal with an 
angry one in the boat. True, they 
don a mug only a mama fish could 
love, but they are among the gamest 
of fighters in all of fresh water. 

"Most anglers typically are dis- 
gusted when they hook one," he 
jokes. "I've never really figured tliat 
one out, as the majority of bass an- 
glers are looking for a hard fight, big 
fish, and ultimately a release. Why 
not tie on a short steel leader and tar- 
get bowfin in the lake when the bass 
are not biting?" 

Lake Cohoon is one lake anglers 
should visit. It's a beautiful lake witli 
much more to offer than bowfin. Do 
yourself a favor and venture to Suf- 
folk to try to catch some of the will- 
ing species this lake has to share. Its 
geographic location in the common- 
wealth makes it a 12-month fishery, 
and there is a lot to be said about that 
when Old Man Winter rears his 
head. D 



Marc N. McGlade is a writer and photogra- 
pher from Midlothian, xolio relishes the oppor- 
tunity/ to venture to Suffolk to fish any of the 
Suffolk lakes. 



Enc Buttle scoop 
sampling boat. 
— ^ — ' ' ' ^ 



up some Lake Cohoon fish from the Department's 



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Fisheries biologist Chad Boyce hefts a beautiful Lake Cohoon 
largemouth bass. 



OCTOBER 2009 



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by Bruce Ingram 



How to establish 

and keep 
hunting access 
on private land 



I am often amazed at how many 
hunters whine about not having 
private land to hunt in the state. I 
know that habitat loss is a terrible threat 
(indeed, the most prominent threat) to 
hunting's future, but I also know that 
plenty of landowners will let someone 
hunt if the individual only asks and 
agrees to follow all instructions. I live in 
Botetourt County, and in that county as 
well as in Craig, Roanoke, and Franldin 
I have permission to hunt some 15 dif- 
ferent farms. 



Consider how I recently gained per- 
mission to hunt several of those parcels. 
In July at a meeting of local landowners, 
a Roanoke County gentleman ap- 
proached me and began talking about 
the damage deer had been doing to his 
landscaping. I quickly mentioned how 
much I enjoy deer hunting. His re- 
sponse: "Would you mind coming over 
and hunting this fall?" Interestingly, the 
landowner's only stipulation was that I 
not shoot any bear or turkeys — some- 
thing that I readily agreed to. 




I 



1 





harvested before I had time to go 
afield on her land. 

A Franklin County landowner 
said that I could hunt his farm only if 
I let walk any buck with fewer than 
eight points and concentrated on 
shooting does — two stipulations that 
I eagerly agreed to. 

When and How to Ask 

From my experience, July and Au- 
gust are the best months to ask a 
landowner for permission. The later 
in the season that one asks, the 
greater the likelihood that other indi- 
viduals may have been granted ac- 
cess, and the property owner may be 
unwilling to let more hunters go 
afield. Also, September is peak har- 
vest time for many farmers and obvi- 
ously it's unwise to interrupt them 
then when they are so busy. 

When meeting a landowner for 
the first time either at his front door 
or on his farm, the first thing I do is 
identify myself and present my dri- 
ver's license. Then I inform liim that I 
am a high school English teacher in 
Botetourt County and live outside of 



Fincastle. Thus, the landowner imme- 
diately sees a legal document stating 
who I am, knows what I do for a liv- 
ing, and knows where I live. 

Don't waste an individual's time, 
however, talking about crops, cattle, 
or the weather. The landowner has al- 
ready probably guessed what \ ou are 
there for and will respect the direct 
approach. 

After a quick introduction, this is 
what I say: "Look, I'll come straight to 
the point. I drove by your farm and 
saw your fields and woodlots. Would 
you mind if I come over this fall and 
himt turkeys with my shotgun^" 

This is a simple and straightfor- 
ward approach. I usually find that 
landowners are much more likely to 
let me pursue turkeys than deer and 
also seem more comfortable that I will 
only be carrying a scattergun instead 
of a rifle. This is particularly true for 
individuals who possess livestock. 

The next part of the conversation 
usually proceeds in this mamier: If the 
landowner rejects my rec^uest, I do 
not try to change his mind. Instead, I 
thank him for his time and, while 



Right before the 2007 season 
began, a Botetourt County lady 
called and said that she heard I enjoy 
hunting and asked if I would like to 
do so on her farm. She had two stip- 
ulations. Her husband was experi- 
encing health problems and could 
not eat meat with high fat content. 
Could I give her the liver of any deer 
that I killed (the husband relishes 
liver and onions) and a few venison 
steaks from time to time? As a ges- 
ture of appreciation I brought the 
lady the livers of several deer that I 




<Al|' 




Using a simple, straightforward approach and respecting a landowner's time will 
go a long way in discussions about gaining hunting access to private land. 



leaving, ask him if he knows of any 
neighbors who might allow me to 
hunt. Recently, for example, a 
landowner refused to let me hunt, but 
upon my asking about adjacent prop- 
erty owners, he gave me the name of a 
neighbor who granted me permission 
to do so. 

If the landowner grants permission, 
I ask him if he has the time to physical- 
ly show me the boundaries. I tell him 
that I know he is busy but that I am 
very worried about blundering off his 
property and onto a neighbor's land. I 
have never had a landowner refuse to 
do this, as I think people sincerely re- 
spect a hunter's desire not to trespass 
by accident. While the two of us drive 
or walk across the property, I ask him if 
he is having any trouble with deer 
damage. If he says "yes," I ask him if he 
might consider letting me bowhunt on 
his place, too, and target does. 

By this point, the landowner has 
usually formed an impression of me. If 
he responds that he would rather me 
not hunt his deer, I immediately drop 
the matter. But on quite a few occasions 
after I have turkey hunted on a proper- 
ty a few times, I have had landowners 
invite me to come back and bow or gun 
hunt. 



Respecting 
Landowner Preferences 

The next step in this budding rela- 
tionship is for me to ascertain his 
preferences about how and when I 
should contact him or come onto his 
holdings. Consider these preferences 
regarding places where I have per- 
mission to hunt. 

One Botetourt County landowner 
never wants me to call him before I 
come. "Come anytime, but let me 
know when you shoot something," is 
his common refrain. 

A different Botetourt County 
property owner requests that I call 
her in early September every year to 
"be put on the calendar." I share the 
hunting rights with three other indi- 
viduals and she creates a calendar 
where only one of us at a time can be 
afield on her place on any particular 
day. 

Yet another Botetourt farmer 
wants me to leave a message on his 
answering machine a few days be- 
fore I plan to hunt. 

One Botetourt landowner doesn't 
care what I hunt for or with, as long 
as I don't bring a bow onto his place. 



Apparently, a number of years ago a 
bowhunter shot and missed a deer 
and wasn't able to locate the arrow, 
which the farmer eventually found in 
his cattle pasture. Bowhunting has 
been banned ever since. 

The point is that a good sports- 
man should strive to know and strict- 
ly adhere to a landowner's prefer- 
ences. 

For many years, I have followed 
two traditions regarding landowners 
who have granted me permission. 
First, after I have gained access, I al- 
ways bring one of my wife's home- 
made loaves of sourdough, zucchini, 
or banana nut bread as a present. 
And after I have killed a deer or a 
turkey, I bring a loaf to the farmer. A 
few landowners even call and ask 
when I am coming again, so that they 
might have a shot (no pun intended) 
at more of Elaine's baked goods. 
These property owners know of my 
tradition and appreciate it. 




20 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ vwvw. HuntFishVA.com 



What Angers Landowners 
About Hunters 

while writing this story, I contacted 
several landowners and asked them 
what hunters do that makes them 
angry. Here are some of their re- 
sponses: 

♦ "One guy had the nerve to ask for 
permission on the first day of deer 
season," one said. "That's just 
rude." 

♦ "I hate it when hunters trespass on 
my place," another told me. "I'm 
one of those city slickers that 
moved to the country. I don't 
know a thing about deer or deer 
hunting, but I know that I have too 
many deer on my place, and I 
know that they are eating my 
wife's ornamentals. If someone 
will just ask for permission, 
chances are pretty good I will say 
yes." 

♦ "These three guys said they 
would shoot some of my does, 
which is what I wanted. But when 
I came over to check on them, they 
had two small bucks. I'll let them 
finish out this year, but when they 
call next fall and ask for permis- 
sion, ITl turn them down." 

♦ "I have told and told people not to 
park inside my red gate. But this 
one guy keeps doing it anyway. If 
it keeps up, I'm running every- 
body off." 

♦ "Don't people know not to drive 
across a wet field?" 

Many things can happen to cause 
hunters to lose hunting access, such 
as property being divided up, devel- 
oped, or sold. But if we follow the 
guidelines that a property owner has 
set, act courteously, and use common 
sense, hunters can reap the benefits of 
having permission to go afield on 
prime private land until that day 
comes. D 



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Bruce Ingram is the autlior of The James River ^ 
Guide, The New River Guide, and The Q 
Shenandoah/Rappahannock Rivers « 
Guide. Contact him at bejngrani&'juno.com. q 



OCTOBER 2009 




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Yoath 

Hunt 



essay and photos 
byKenPerrotte 

Only a couple of deer made it home 
with the 15 young hunters assembled 
at Kinloch Farm in Essex County for 
the 4th Annual Youth Hunt of the 
Fredericksburg /Northern Neck 
Chapter of the Virginia Deer Hunters 
Association (VDHA), but the day's 
memories weren't measured by 
pounds of venison. 

Most of the youngsters were fresh 
out of a hunter education course and 
just learning how to wield a shotgun 
in a hunting situation. Under the 
close supervision of adult relatives 
and mentors, they enjoyed the out- 
doors camaraderie and their first 
deer hunting experiences. 

The hosts for the hunt, Bruce Lee 
and his fellow members of the Pine- 
hill Hunt Club, used well-trained 
bircl dogs and man drives to encour- 
age deer movement for the young- 
sters. 

At the noon break for an ample 
buffet and warm-up, Lee asked for a 
show of hands as to how many deer 
were being seen. "How many have 
seen three deer? Five deer? Ten or 
more deer?" he asked. 

Hands enthusiastically shot up- 
ward. Clearly, the kids were seeing 
lots of deer and getting shots. But, 
they were also learning the impor- 
tance of shooting skill and timing 



.^ -^*::' 



Left: Dillon, 10, stands at the ready in 
a creek bottom, facing the lengthening 
shadows of the afternoon. 




Jesse MagiU helps son Jake, 12, load 
shells into his 12 gauge shotgun. 




when it comes to putting venison in 
the cooler. 

Chapter President Matt Lafley 
said costs for the hunt are funded by 
the chapter's annual fall banquet. Lee 
donates use of the farm. He practices 
a Quality Deer Management ap- 
proach to the 1,485-acre property. The 
youth hunt is a management event 
where only antlerless deer are sup- 
posed to be taken. 



Twelve-year-old Jake MagiU was 
one of the lucky hunters, taking his 
first deer ever. 

"You'll never forget this day" his 
father, Jesse, said — placing a hand on 
his son's shoulder. H 



Outdoors columnist Ken Perrotte of King 
George sai/s that getting kids off the couch and 
into the woods or on the water is part of his life's 
mission. 



Above: Young hunters and their 
adult supervisors assemble on a 
trail at Kin loch Farm following th>^ 
end of a morning deer drive. 
Below: Hunters and guides round 
up the well-trained bird dogs used 
to motivate deer movement during 
the hunt. 




H ii 



Wild! Q 

Virginia's B 



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Red-winged Blackbird 
chasing Cowbird 



Story and illustrations 
by Spike Knuth 

The New World blackbird fami- 
ly, Icteridae, is made up of birds 
with a variety of habits that live 
in a variety of habitats. They build a va- 
riety of nest types; some elaborate and 
some in colonies. One doesn't build a 
nest at all. Color-wise, many are all 
black but with a metallic gloss of blue, 
purple, green, and bronze. The females 
of these are a somber brown. Some 
have colors of bright orange, yellow, 
and red. Most of them do not make 



musical songs or calls and have long, 
slender, pointed bills. Many of them fly 
together in large flocks during fall and 
have not endeared themselves to the 
agricultural community because of the 
crop damage they cause. 

Red-winged Bldckbird 
(Agelaius phoetiiceus) 

Redwings show a definite affinity to 
marshes, sloughs, and swales. To at- 
tract females the all-black male will 
perch atop an old cattail stalk, display 
his red shoulder epaulets, droop his 
wings, and spread his tail in sync with 



his song, described as "konk-a-reee." 
Redwings are the most numerous of all 
blackbirds. Once they were associated 
only with cattail and willow marshes, 
but they have adapted to nesting in 
brush, shrubs, and trees away from big 
water. Loose groups will nest in the 
smaller marshy sloughs or in wet 
meadows. A single male mates with an 
average of 5 females, which produce 
up to three broods each (but rare) dur- 
ing a single breeding season. In fall, 
tliey gather in large flocks along with 
other blackbirds as well as flocks of 
their own kind, flying in tight, noisy 
formations. 



24 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




lackbirds 



Common Crackle 
(Quiscahis quiscula) 

The common grackle measures about a foot long. The male is 
all black, but during breeding displays an iridescent sheen of 
green, blue, bronze, or purple. It has a long tail that can be fold- 
ed vertically, giving it a V-shaped appearance anci making it 
look tail-heavy in flight. Females are smaller, with a shorter tail, 
and have only a little iridescence on the forepart of their body. 
As spring nears they get very noisy. The males, especially, 
utter harsh metallic squawks and squeaks as they display 
for the females. They exhibit a definite preference for 
conifers and, like many other blackbirds, nest in loose 
colonies. They are aggressive and will attack and give chase 
to crows and hawks that venture through their airspace. 
Flocking begins by late June, as they rove croplands and 
roost in tall trees at night. Their fall flights can be quite 
spectacular, as they fly in ribbon-like flocks some- 
times several miles long either returning from feed- 
ing forays or migrating. 

Boat-tailed Crackle 

(Quiscalus major) 

The boat-tailed grackle is a bird of brackish 
marshes and islands. The most common of 
its raucous calls is the quick, harsh, "jeeb- 
jeeb-jeeb." They commonly feed on sandy 
beaches, mudflats at low tide, or along marsh 
edges, as well as roadsides, cultivated fields, 
and parking lots. Males measure about 16 inches 
and are glossy black-violet on the head, to deep 
blue or even blue-green on breast and back, iri- 
descent in the sun. Females are much smaller, 
with dull, dark brown backs and light brown 
undersides and a white throat. 

Boat-tails nest from April through June 
in groups or colonies in live oaks, water 
oaks, wax myrtles, and other marsh vege- 
tation. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial 
insects, crustaceans, amphibians, mussels, 
worms, eggs of horseshoe crabs, and some 
fruits. 



OCTOBER 2009 




Boat-tailed Grackle 




Brewer's 
Blackbird 



26 



Brown-headed Cowbird 
(Molothrus ater) 

Cowbirds were once found primarily in the short grass 
prairies of the Great Plains but have moved their range 
eastward. The male is blue-black with a brown head, 
while the female is a plain gray-brown. Cowbirds have a 
short, thick bill suitable for eating seeds as well as insects. 
These birds roam about all year in small groups. In spring 
it might be 5 or 6 males along with a single female. Cow- 
birds don't build a nest, but seek out the nests of others for 
egg laying. A single female may lay up to 40 eggs during 
an 8- week breeding season. Because of a short 11- to 12- 
day incubation period, young cowbirds hatch first and 
out-compete the young of the smaller host species, even 
killing them in some instances. Some species detect the 
unusual egg and move it out of the nest or will build a new 
nest over the old one. 

Brewer's Blackbird 

(Euphagus cyanocephalus) 

Brewer's blackbirds resemble the grackles but are not as 
large. The male is basically black, with head and neck 
showing a glossy purple to blue in spring and more solid 
black in fall. Females are a brown-slate color In the Mid- 
west they breed mainly in the northern states up into 
Canada, nesting in grassy meadows and trees around 
lakes and rivers. In Virginia they are most apt to be seen 
during fall migration and often go unnoticed because of 
their similarity to grackles. They will flock up either to- 
gether or in mixed flocks in fall and winter In recent years 
they have been moving their range eastward. 

Rusty Blackbird 

(Euphagus carolinus) 

The rusty blackbird is an early spring and late fall migrant 
through Virginia. It breeds mostly north of the United 
States into Canada, up to the Arctic coasts. Rusty black- 
birds tend to inhabit forests more so than other blackbird 
species and are drawn to swamps, wooded lakeshores, 
and forest streams. The male in spring is basically all 
black, with females being a duller slate color In winter, 
they are similar but the black feathers are edged with 
rusty brown to give them a brown-gray appearance. Dur- 
ing fall they will be found along waters as they migrate, 
walking and wading in the water and communicating 
with each other with a constant chuckling, gurgling 
call interspersed with squeaky notes. When interrupt- 
ed they'll flush in unison, much like a flock of shore- 
birds. They tend to migrate in small flocks of their own 
kind to winter Populations have been declining for un- 
known reasons. 





Bobolink 
(DoUchoi lyx oryzivonis) 

The adult male bobolink in spring 
has one of the most unique color pat- 
terns, with lighter colors above and 
black lower parts. It shows a buff-col- 



OCTOBER 2009 



Rusty Blackbird 



ored hind neck, with white shoul- 
ders, back, rump, and upper tail 
coverts. The female is light buff- 
olive below, with streakeci flanks 
and two brown stripes over its 
head. Come fall, the male takes on 
similar but richer colors. 
Bobolinks are a common tran- 
sient across Virginia but — ^^ 
breed in a few, select loca- 
tions. Bobolinks favor large 
grassy fields, especially of 
hay, alfalfa, and wheat, as 
well as dry brushy marshes 
and fallow fields. As with all 
blackbirds, they begin to 
gather in flocks as early as 
late July to begin their mi- 
gration. They migrate out 
over the ocean to South 
America south of the Equa- 
tor as far as Argentina anci 
Paraguay, a distance of 6,000 
miles! This is another black- 
bird considered a pest due to 
its affinity for rice. Early 
mowing of hay and alfalfa 
fields in the East de- 
stroyed their nesting at- 
tempts, resulting in a pop- 
ulation decline. 



Eastern Meddowlcirk 

(Stuniella nmgiin) 

The eastern meadowlark is a bird of 
the open fields. Its spring song is de- 
livered from atop a post or stump or 
from the ground with head up, point- 
ing skyward. It's a stocky, short- 
tailed bird with a long bill and is best 
identified by its lemon yellow breast 
with a distinctive black V on its chest 
and a striped head. It has a chicken- 
like walk with a habit of flicking aiid 
fanning its tail, and shows white 
outer tail feathers when it flies. Nests 
are grassy structures built in slight 
depressions in older, flattened vege- 
tation amid dense clumps of grasses 
and are covered by arching growths 
of taller grasses. Parent birds don't fly 
directly to or away from the nest, in 
order to hide its location. In some 
cases, they leave a matted down trail 
to the nest, due to their many com- 
ings aiid goings. Many winter in Vir- 
ginia throughout the Coastal Plain of 
the lower James River to the North- 







Eastern Meadowlark 



em Neck, an area south of Virginia 
Beach, and the Eastern Shore. Mead- 
owlark populations are declining 
due to clean farming practices and 
loss of hedgerows. 

Baltimore Oriole 

(Icterus galbula) 

Baltimore orioles favor larger trees in 
parks, residential areas, and along 
country roads and rivers. They seem 
to prefer elms but will be found in 
other, large deciduous trees and fruit 
orchards. Females arrive after the 
males to the same general area where 
they nested during the previous year. 
One of this bird's most outstand- 
ing characteristics is its nest. The fe- 
male anchors and suspends it with a 
foundation of strong fibrous 
materials; then, expertly 
weaves plant fibers and ani- 
mal hair to form a hanging 





pocket four to six inches 
deep. It is not only a work 
of art but durable, often 
lasting two or three years. It 
is rarely, if ever, used again. Balti- 
more orioles have one brood, and 
once the family is fledged, they 
leave the breeding area and go into 
dense woods or swamps. From late 
August and into September they 
begin meandering southward, 
with some wintering along the 
South Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 

Orchard Oriole 

(Icterus spurius) 

This is the smallest of the orioles. Its 

fore and upper parts, wings, and 

tail are black, and underparts and 

rump, chestnut with a narrow wing 

bar. The female is yellowish or 

olive-green above, darker on 

the back, more yellow on 

the rump, with dusky 

wings that have two wing 

bars. Young males are similar 

to the female but the cheeks, chin, 

and throat are black and it will take 

three years for it to attain full adult 

plumage. So different is their 

plumage that it was once thought 

to be a separate species. 

The song of the orchard oriole is 

a loud warbling, often sung on the 

wing, and it has a whistled call. 

Orchard orioles are probably not 

numerous but are common all 

over Virginia. They favor 

areas with scattered trees 

or orchards along 

streams and roads. 



Baltimore 
Oriole 



often nesting close together in a loose 
colony. The nest is a hanging basket- 
like affair woven of green grasses and 
plant down and suspended in a 
forked branch 10 to 20 feet up. They 
leave us in September to winter from 
southern Mexico south to northern 
Columbia. D 

Spike Kiuitli is an avid naturalist and loildlife 
artist. For over 30 }/ears his artwork and ivriting 
have appeared in Virginia Wildlife. He is a 
member oftlie Virginia Outdoor Writers Asso- 
ciation. 



Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a reg- 
ular feature that highlights Virginia's 
Wildlife Action Plan, which is designed 
to unite natural resources agencies, 
sportsmen and women, conservation- 
ists, and dtizens in a common vision 
for the conservation of the Common- 
wealth's wildlife and habitats in which 
they live. To learn more or to become 
involved with this program visit: 
www.bewildvirginia.org. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




No creatures on this earth bring 
more smiles to humans than a new 
litter of puppies. Puppies. It's a word 
that goes right to the human brain and 
seems to always produce a smile. Why, 
we are so adorable as babies we have 
been used by ad agencies around the 
world to sell everything from skin lo- 
tion to automobiles to insect repellent. If 
you find there is a void in your life, take 
nome a puppy and it will fill your days 
with loyalty, laughter, and love. After 
all, who's ever heard the expression, 
"kitten love"? 

I admit that puppy love has a conno- 
tation of "something that humans may 
not see as lasting." But dogs don't see it 
that way, because once the bond is 
formed, it is pretty much there for good. 
If you take us home, we plan on being 
around for ten years or more! So I 
thought I would make some sugges- 
tions which will make life easier for the 
both of us. 

When picking a puppy partner for 
companionship or for nunting, you 
want to do some research. Try not to be 
taken in by our big brown puppy eyes 
and look carefully at our breeding. 
Dogs, just like humans, are a mixture of 
various cultures, so try to learn as much 
as possible about a pup's background. 
Some dogs need a great deal of exercise 
and attention and could get rather 
bored if left alone a lot. These breeds 
may not make the best house dogs. You 
might regret leaving a pair of your fa- 
vorite new leather boots on the floor, for 
example. Other breeds may have a ten- 
dency to be noisy or bark like an over- 
wrought in-law for incessant periods of 
time. One of these breeds might make 
the perfect choice if you live alone, or 
are elderly, or want to know if someone 
is now on your dog's turf. 

Any old time you want to bring love 
into your life is a good time to acquire a 
pup. But if you want a practical tip, my 
suggestion would be to do so in the 
spring — preferably when the kids are 

OCTOBER 2009 



home on school break. This allows 
plenty of time for everyone to get to 
know each other, because puppies need 
to bond to something after leaving their 
litters. Also, puppies are noted for 
sleeping, eating, and reading newspa- 
pers. So if the new member of the house 
is in house-breaking mode, it would 
make things easier for all concerned 
that, when the time comes to go out- 
side, neither of you is doing so during a 
freezing rain or when there's six inches 
of snow on the ground. 

When faced with so much cuteness 
in a puppy litter, it may be hard for you 
to choose. There are a number of tests 
you can do with a pup to explore its 
dominance, shyness, or strong will, so 
take your time. If you have done your 
homework, you may get just the pup 
that fits your personality. But if you just 
want a dog for a companion, you can 
probably forgo the enttre scienttfic se- 
lection process and just reach down and 
grab the first one that licks your hand. 

The next best investment you can 
make after getting a pup is to enroll 
both of you in an obedience class. This 
creates a structure for you and the pup 
and, provided you spend the proper 
time in training, your puppy learns 
rather quickly what is expected of it. 
Teaching your pup to obey three simple 
commands — come, sit, and stay — 
makes things a lot easier around the 
house. Plus, if there is car traffic nearby, 
it could save your pup's life. 

Remember, puppies, unlike your 
teenager, are comfortable when they 
learn that you are the one with the au- 
thority. As that famous guy. Gene Hill, 
once said, "Dogs sleep so much because 
they love so hard." 

Keep a leg up, 
Luke 

Luke is a black Labrador retriever who spends his 
spare time hiiittiug up i^ood stories zvitli his best 
friend, Clarke C. Jones. You can contact Luke 
and Clarke at icww.clarkecjones.com. 




Photo Contest Reminder 



The deadline for submitting photographs 
for the 2009 VirginiaWildlife Photography 

I Contest is November 2, 2009. 
Winning photographs will appear in the 
special March 20 1 issue of the magazine. 
For more information about the contest 

I and to view last year's edition online, visit 

I the Department's Web site at: 

i http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/ 

uhotocontest. 





Journal 



2009 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current infor- 
mation and registration on workshops go 
to the "Upcoming Events" page on our 
Web site at www.HuntFishVA.com or call 

804-367-7800. 

October 6: Kayak Fishing Worksliop, 
Beaverdam Park in Gloucester. 

October 17: Youth Fall Turkey Hunt, 
ages 1 S and younger. 

October 23: Virginia Wildlife and Bird- 
ing Trail 5th Aiuiiversary Celebration, 
Virginia Creeper Trail Park, Abing- 
don. Contact Jeff Trollinger at 
jeff.trollinger@dgif.virginia.gov for 
more information. 

October 24: Youth Waterfowl Hunting 
Day, ages 15 emd under. 

November 7: Virginia Wildlife and 
Birding Trail 5th Anniversary Celebra- 
tion, ''The Link," 12018 Lee Hwy., 
Sperryville, Abingdon, 8:00 a.m.-l:00 
p.m. Contact Jeff Trollinger at 
jeff.trollinger@dgif.virginia.gov for 
more information. 

November 7: Shenandoah Audubon's 
9th Birding Festival, Jim Barnett Park, 
Winchester. Contact Judy Hagan at 
hagansan@yahoo.com for more in- 
formation, n 



Lifetime Licenses 

Open the door to a lifetime of enjoyment 

in the great outdoors of Virginia with a 

lifetime freshwater fishing, hunting 

or trout license! 

It's an investment that keeps on giving. 

For more information visit: 

httpyAvww.HuntFishVA.coni/foniis/ 
lifetiiiie_licenses^nstructions.htnil 

orcalll- (866) 721-6911 




by Beth Hester 

Autumn Shadows: Outdoor Tales 
of the Supyeninturnl 

by Joel M. Vance 

2002 Bonasa Press 

Limited edition, signed by author 

and illustrators 

www.bonasapress.com 

717-684-4215 

"A good ghost story has sounds in the 
night, unexplained deep cold, and shim- 
mering visitations. Chains clank, and 
there are footsteps where no person is. . . " 

-Joel Vance 

Perhaps one of the most treasured 
outdoor traditions is the sharing of 
hair-raising ghost stories. Told "sotto 
voce" (in a low, quiet voice) around a 
crackling camp fire, these yarns of 
suspense and foreboding never cease 
to satisfy: Phantom Civil War battles 
take place in familiar woods; be- 
reaved widows return to haunt di- 
lapidated Victorian mansions; and 
courting teenage couples return 
home from a tryst to discover the 
hooked claw of an amputee felon at- 
tached to the car's door handle. 

Author Joel Vance carries on tills 
tradition of classic supernatural tales 
with a twist. His stories are narrated 
by hunters and anglers, and as a col- 
lection, they make for entertaining 
reading just perfect for Halloween. 
Vance's tales are not filled with cine- 
matic blood and gore, but they are 
filled with the tang of autumn 
woods, the wandering spirits of old 
hunters, and the specters of their 



loyal but long-dead gun dogs. Fish- 
ing guides are commissioned by 
dead anglers who, in life, never 
caught the "big one," and there are 
quirky demons who resemble David 
Niven. . . who could ask for more? 

This handsome volume also con- 
tains color plates, and black and 
white illustrations that serve as a nice 
accompaniment to the stories. Take 
this durable volume on your next 
camping trip to add a little frisson of 
fear as your campers nibble their 
marshmallows and graham crackers. 

So, Happy Halloween . . . and as 
we say in the South, "Boo y'all!" D 



Report Wildlife Violations 
1-800-237-5712 




30 



Coordinator of the boating education vol- 
unteer program Robert N. "Bob" Swinson 
(C) was recently honored. The Board of 
Game and Inland Fisheries recognized him 
for being named the recipient of the 2009 
Governor's Transportation Safety Award, 
for his contributions to improving safety 
for swimmers, boaters, and anglers. For 
almost 60 years, Swinson has been a 
dedicated pubbc servant in state govern- 
ment — a career that has spanned sen/ice 
to the State Police, the ABC, the General 
Assembly, and this Department. He is 
joined by boating educators Stacey Brown 
and Tom Guess. Congratulations, Bob! 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Committee Certifies 

First Freshwater Fish 

Over 100 Pounds 

Tim Wilson of Natural Bridge (L) receives of- 
ficial recognition from fisheries biologist Bob 
Greenlee, on behalf of the DGIF State Record 
Fish Committee, for a new record blue cat- 
fish. The fish weighed in at 102 pounds, 4 
ounces, and measured 52-3/4 inches in 
length with a girth of 41-1/2 inches. The 
first state record fish to break the 100- 
pound mark was caught by Wibon and fish- 
ing buddy Danny Ayers, using cut shad as 
bait on 30-pound test line below Dutch Gap, 
a public boat landing on the James River 
south of Richmond, on May 20, 2009. The 
fish was so large it took both men to land it. 




The Hunter Education Unit conducted a 
Basic Instructors Workshop at Holiday 
Lake 4-H Center over the weekend of 
July 31 through August 2, 2009. In all, 
32 new instructors were welcomed to 
the ranks of over 900 statewide. In this 
photo, veteran instructor Spud Almond 
shares his knowledge and experience in 
shotgun with the new instructors. The 
next workshop will be held in the spring 
of 2010. Anyone interested in becom- 
ing a Volunteer Hunter Education 
Instructor should visit www.HuntFishVA. 
com for more information or email Sgt. 
David Dodson, state coordinator, at 
david.dodson@dgif.virginia.gov. 

OCTOBER 2009 




It's once again time to purchase a 
Virginia Wildlife calendar — a thought- 
ful holiday gift that's still a bargain at 

$10 each. 

As always, the calendar features 
spectacular photography and useful 
information to the outdoors enthusiast, 
including wildlife behavior, hunting 
seasons, favorable hunting and fishing 
times, state fish records, and more! 

Quantities Are Limited, 
So Order Yours Today. 

Make your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia" and send to: 
Virginia Wildlife Calendar, 
P.O. Box 1 n 04, 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 1 04. 



To pay by VISA or MasterCard, you may order 
online at wvwv.HuntFishVA.com on our se- 
cure site. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. 




Correction 

Our June 2009 feature, "Making a 
Difference for Wildlife" by Bruce 
Ingram, incorrectly traced the histo- 
ry of the Goley farm (pg. 10). The 
property on which Gene and Laura 
Goley live has remained in Laura's 
family — the Radford family — for 
five generations. We sincerely regret 
the error. And of note. Gene and 
Laura Goley were the first property 
owners in Bedford County tt^ place 
their land under a conservation 
easement, which is held by the 
Virginia Outdoors Fouiidation. 

-SHM 



Virginia fepartment of Same and Inland Fiiheries 

Outdoor Report 



For a free email subscription, visit our 

Web site at www.HuntFishVA.com. 
Click on the Outdoor Report Link and 
simply fill in the required information. 




"Now look at what you did! 
You upset the garbage can and 
scattered garbage everywhere, 
son. I'm proud of you." 



31 




o 



mm 




by Ken and Maria Perrotte 



Rack of Venison (French Chops) and Baby Portabellas 



Looking for a venison recipe that will give your table a 
touch of elegance and draw an approving nod from din- 
ner guests? It is easier to prepare than it looks. 

The next time you process a deer don't bone out those 
backstraps. Instead, keep the loin (backstrap) attached to the 
ribs, aim for an appearance similar to what you'd find wAh. a 
rack of lamb. This takes a little extra time, but pays off in 
terms of presentation on the plate. The best result with this 
cut of meat comes w\.th animals that are, ideally, yearlings or 
younger. 

If you're fortunate enough to be able to process your ovm 
deer, partially bone out the backstrap along the spinal col- 
umn, but keep 7 to 8 ribs attached to the loin meat. Avoid cut- 
ting into the spinal column. Ribs can be kept at full length or 
shortened to a manageable 6-7 inches by savdng across the rib 
cage parallel to the loin. 

We often cook the roast as a rack with the rib meat left 
intact. It's delicious; once cooked, the rack can be cut into in- 
dividual chops, or cut in half and served as individual portions 
of 3 or 4. 

Venison French Chops and Baby Portabellas 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Rack (about 8 ribs) from young tender deer 

2 teaspoons Montreal Steak Seasoning 

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 

2 tablespoons dry red wine 

Pre-heat oven to 400°. Sprinkle seasonings over rack (meat 
and bones) and rub lightly to coat. Pour oil into Dutch oven 
or oven-proof saute pan to cover the bottom. Depending on 
pan size, a tablespoon or a little more of oil should work. Heat 
on stovetop over medium-high flame and brown meat on all 
sides. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar and vnne. Place in 
oven for about 10 min. or until slightly undercooked for your 
taste. (We like it to end up medium to medium-rare.) Remove 
meat from oven and let it sit about 10 min. Meat will contin- 
ue to cook and juices will set. Slice into individual chops or 
serving portions. 

Mashed Potatoes 

4 or 5 Yukon gold potatoes 

2 teaspoons mayonnaise (we always use Hellman's) 
2 tablespoons margarine ( or butter) 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Clean and quarter potatoes. Cook in boiling water until soft 
but not mushy when pierced by fork. Drain and mash, adding 
mayonnaise and margarine. Salt and pepper to taste. If you 



like creamier potatoes, add a couple of ounces of milk. 
Optional: Add a few whole garlic cloves to pan and cook with 
the meat. When done, mash and chop the roasted garlic and 
add to the potatoes. 

Baby Portabellas 

8 ounce package of baby portabella mushrooms- 
available in many fine produce sections 

1 good splash of red v«ne 

1 teaspoon of olive oil 

Dash of black pepper and basil 

1 Garlic clove, chopped 

In small pan, heat oil over medium heat; add mushrooms, 
wane and seasonings, then stir occasionally until mushrooms 
are thoroughly hot. Takes 4-5 min. 

Wine Pairings 

Serve entree with a hearty red steak wine, such as a big caber- 
net sauvignon that you open and let breathe for a couple of 
hours before serving. A hearty Argentinean malbec, such as 
Trivento Reserva, is also a good match. Robust reds from Vir- 
ginia vintners have paired well with similar quality venison 
dishes. 

A good dinner deserves a good dessert. 

Brandied Baked Pears 

6 firm Bosc or Bartlett pears 
cup packed light brown sugar 
tablespoons unsalted butter 
cup water 

cup plus 1 teaspoon brandy 
cup chilled heavy cream or a good vanilla ice cream 



2 

Vz 



Preheat oven to 450°. Peel and core pears; coat with brovm 
sugar in a large bowl. Melt butter in a shallow baking dish in 
oven; add pears, turning to coat with butter. Add water to dish 
and bake pears, turning over occasionally, until tender and 
edges are caramelized, 30 to 50 min., depending on pear 
ripeness. 

Transfer pears to a plate. Add brandy to baking dish and 
stir briskly vnth a heatproof rubber spatula, deglazing all the 
sugars sticking to the pan. Place warm pears in serving dishes. 
Scoop over ice cream or, if using whipped cream, whisk cream 
in a bowl until it thickens. Don't overdo it! You can use a tea- 
spoon of brandy to whisk into the cream for a little extra fla- 
vor up top. Drizzle warm pears with sauce and brandied 
cream. D 



32 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ vwvw.HuntFishVA.com 



>iil- 




by Tom Guess 



Myths and Facts About Boating 



I J/ith winter approaching, this 
WW will be my last column for the 
year. I have enjoyed sharing my sto- 
ries and experiences with you. 

This month I wanted to do 
something a little different and re- 
view some common myths and facts 
as they pertain to boating laws anci 
regulations. This list is by no means 
all-inclusive but, rather, compiled 
from many of the frequent questions 
boaters have asked over the past 
year. 

Myth: My boat is a Personal Water- 
craft (PWC) because I use it for per- 
sonal use. 

Fact: This often confuses people 
since a PWC, more commonly re- 
ferred to as a "jet ski," is considered a 
boat but is specifically defined in the 
Virginia Code as a motorboat less 
than sixteen feet in length that uses 
an inboard motor powering a jet 
pump and is designed to be operat- 
ed by a person sitting, standing, or 
kneeling on, rather than in the con- 
ventional manner of sitting or stand- 
ing inside of, the vessel. 



Myth: I don't have to register my 
boat because it only has a trolling 
motor. 

Fact: If you add any machinery 
propulsion — electric, gasoline, or 
other motor — to any vessel, it is con- 
sidered a motorboat and must have 
a valid registration and display the 
appropriate numbers. 



or life- ring on a boat less than 16 feet 
long. 

Fact: In Virginia all boats, with the ex- 
ception of non-motorized canoes, 
kayaks, inflatables, or sail boards, 
must carry a USCG-Approved Type 
IV throwable device. This law also 
does not apply to PWC, since they 
don't have a place to properly carry a 
throwable cievice, nor does it apply to 
a vessel less than 16 feet registered in 
another state temporarily using Vir- 
ginia waters. 

Myth: My USCG-Approved Type IV 
throwable must have a 50-foot line 
attached. 

Fact: A USCG Type IV throwable is 
not required to have any additional 
line attached. 



Myth: My USCG-Approved inflat- 
able must be worn to be accepted. 

Fact: A USCG-Approved inflatable 
does not neec^ to be worn unless the 
label specifically states, "Must be 
worn to be approved or accepted." 
Also, inflatable lifejackets are not ap- 
proved for use by children under the 
age of 16 or for high impact water 
sports (water skiing, riding PWC). 



Myth: I don't need a USCG-Ap- 
proved Type IV throwable cushion 



Myth: When I boat in cold weather 
months, I should dress according to 
the air temperature. 

Fact: When boating in cold weather 
months, you should dress for the 
water temperature and wear your 
lifejacket. Water cools the body 25 
times faster than air. You should wear 



your lifejacket to keep you afloat and 
to keep as much of your body out of 
the water as possible. If you do fall in 
and can get out, get as much of your 
body out of the water as possible. 



Myth: Virginia law is requiring me to 
have a license to operate a PWC or 
motorboat. 

Fact: Virginia law does not require a 
license to operate a boat; however, in 
2007 the General Assembly enacted 
legislation to establish a Boating Safety 
Education Requirement that is being 
phased in over the next several years. 
It requires the operator of a PWC or a 
boat with a motor of 10 horsepower or 
greater to take a boating safety course 
approved by the National Association 
of State Boating Law Admiiiistrators 
(NASBLA) and accepted by the De- 
partment. There are some provisions 
for certain boaters to meet this re- 
quirement through other means. 
These can be found on our Web site: 
www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/. 

If you plan to hvint or fish from a 
boat this winter, remember yovi are a 
boater first! Oftentimes when boaters 
hunt and fish from a boat they tend to 
forget the inherent risks associated 
with being on the water. Boaters also 
tend to forget that the biggest danger 
looms when we become complacent 
to appropriately managing the risks 
that can be associated with boating. 

Until next spring: Be Responsible, 
Be Safe, and Have Fun! D 



Tom Guess, U. S. Coast Guard (Ret.), serves as 
a statewide coordiuator for the Boatiui;;; Safety 
Education Program at the DCIR 



OCTOBER 2009 



33 



by Lynda Richardson 



Sometimes I Don't Want to Take Any Pictures! 



t^ espite the tlirill of photographing 
L/ some of the most fascinating ani- 
mals, places, and people in the world, 
occasionally I just want to absorb a 
scene without the distraction of mak- 
ing great images. For me, capturing a 
moment photographically is an all- 
consuming activity. I joke with other 
photographers about it but it's true. 
When I'm photographing, I am so ab- 
sorbed in the situation that I can't talk 
and I definitely can't hold a conversa- 
tion! 

I can understand why this hap- 
pens. The main reason I got into pho- 
tography was because of my love for 
the natural world. As a little kid, I ab- 
sorbed books on natiire by the car- 
load, watched Wild Kingdom every 
day, and spent nearly all of my free 
time exploring the woods near our 
Riclimond home. My parents encour- 
aged this love of the outdoors, some- 
times showing me cool critters they 
had fecund but also putting up with the 
occasional errant snake found tangled 
in the hair of my sister's favorite doll. (I 
SWEAR I don't know how it got 
there! ) 

Nature provides deep spiritual ex- 
periences for me. It keeps me ground- 
ed as to what is important in life and it 
never fails to teach me something new. 
A bright-eyed fawn discovered in a 
meadow fills my heart with the prom- 
ise of miracles, while gazing up into a 
star-filled night convinces me of a 
force greater than me. If I'm trying to 
take pictures of these woncierful 
things, I'm usually distracted by com- 
position and camera settings and an- 
ticipating the right moment to trip the 
shutter. 

The next time you go out to photo- 
graph the natural world, take time to 
simplv be there. Absorb the sounds, 
smells, and sights. Feel the wind brush 
against your face. Reflect on why you 
are there and what you are trying to ac- 
complish. It will help you obtain better 
insight into your subjects and your 
photography. It also will help you bet- 
ter understand yourself and the re- 
markable world in which we live. D 
34 




I was able to capture a few photographs of this 
fledgling osprey landing on its nest in the Rap- 
pahannock River but, afterwards, we enjoyed a 
gorgeous sunset. Sometimes just watching your 
subjects can be as exdting as photographing 
them. © Lynda Richardson 

You are invited to submit one to five of your 
best photographs to "Image of the Month," Vir- 
ginia Wildhfe Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 4010 
West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230-1104. 



Send original slides, super high-quality prints, or 
high-res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk and in- 
clude a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
other shipping method for return. Also, please 
include any pertinent information regarding how 
and where you captured the image and what 
camera and settings you used, along with your 
phone number. We look forward to seeing and 
sharing your work with our readers. 

CLARIFICATION 

The June 2009 Pfioto Tips advocated using 
electronic calling devices and decoys to lure 
birds in to photograph them. The use of 
these devices can seriously disrupt breeding 
and territorial behaviors and waste valuable 
energy reserves that are needed to care for 
young, endure extreme weather, or com- 
plete migration. The Virginia Society of Or- 
nithology and the American Birding Associ- 
ation have published a Code of Birding Ethics 
that states birders should "limit the use of 
recordings and other methods of attracting 
birds, especially during peak migration and 
breeding season, and never use such meth- 
ods in heavily birded areas." Lures or calls 
shouldn't be used where threatened, endan- 
gered, or special concern species might 
occur It should be noted that at some loca- 
tions (such as national wildlife refuges), the 
use of electronic calls is prohibited. Please re- 
member to be an ethical birder! Watch anci 
photograph wildlife from a distance and 
keep disturbance to a minimum. 



tmm^<^iM 



OtU: 




Congratulations go to Frank Kruszyna of Christiansburg for his awesome photograph of 
white-tailed deer drinking from the Jackson River in Lowmoor. Great Spotting! Nikon D50 
digital camera, 200 mm lens, ISO not recorded, 1/ 500th, f.5.6. 




2009 

Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 



Our 2009 Collector's knife has once again been customized by Buck Knives 
and features a wild turkey in full strut. The elegant, solid cherpy' box features a 
forest scene. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 



ltemtfVW-409 



$85.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 




2008 

Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 



Produced by Buck Knives, this knife features a red-tailed hawk engraving, 
augmented by a natural woodgrain handle and gold lettering. A distinctive, 
solid cherry box features birds of prey. 

Item #VW-408 $90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 




Fawn 

and Turtles 
Plush 
Collectibles 



From mountains to the coast, our plush collectibles will remind you of your 
favorite Virginia habitat. (Sizes range from 5" to 9" long) 



ltem»VW-519 
ltem#VW-518 



White-tailed Fawn 
Sea Turtle Set (2) 




$9.95 each 
$9.95 each 



Habitat at Home 

Check out this 2009 DVD that features 
several types of home habitat gardens and 
interviews with the homeowners who 
created them. 



Item #VW-254 



$12.00 each 



To Order visit the Department's Web site at: 

www.HuntFishVA.com or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow i to 4 weeks for delivery. 



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Hunting License 



The apprentice hunting license serves as a first- 
time Virginia resident or nonresident hunting 
license and is good for 2 years. 

The license holder must be accompanied and 
directly supervised by a mentor over 18 who 
has on his or her person a validVirginia hunting 
license. 

The apprentice license does not qualify the 
holder to purchase a regular hunting license, 
nor exempt the holder from compliance with 
Department regulations. A hunter education 
course must be successfully completed to ob- 
tain a regular hunting license. 

A bear, deer, turkey license and all applicable 
stamps or permits are required in addition to 
the apprentice license. 

Previous Virginia resident and nonresident 
hunting license holders may not use an appren- 
tice license. 

To learn more about the Virginia Apprentice 
Hunting License, call (866) 721-691 1 or log on 
to www.HuntFishVA.com. 



Magazine subscription-related calls only 1 -800-7 1 0-9369 

Tweh'e issues for just $ 1 2.95 ! 

AU other caUs to (804) 367-1000 

Visit our Web site at \v\vw.HuntFishVA.com 



This Holiday Season 

Give The Qift That Will Be Enjoyed 

All Year Long 



' fW^ 




©Dwigh: Dyke 



Virginia Wildlife Magazbhe 



For a limited time only you can give Virginia Wildlife d^ 
a gift to your family and friends for only $10.00 each. 
That's a savings of almost 80% off the regular cover price! 
This special holiday offer expires January 31,2010. 

Simply send us the full name and address of the person 
or persons to whom you would like to send a subscription . 



All orders must mention code # U9C4 and be prepaid by 
check, payable to Treasurer of Virginia. Mail to Virginia 
Wildlife Magazine, PO. Box I 1 104. Richmond. VA 23230- 
1 1 04. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. 

Remember, a subscription to Virginia Wildlife makes a 
great gift that will be enjoyed all year longi